[originally sent to the subscribers of the subversive underground newsletter on Jan 1, 2006]
WELCOME TO NEXT by Keith Giles
What is it about New Years that makes us take on new hope?
The concept of our lives taking on a clean slate status is almost redeeming in a way.
Because we've reset the calendar, everything about our lives now seems to hum with possibility and an intangible glow of "newness".
Our minds whisper to us, 'what's next'?
My oldest son, Dylan, woke up this morning and said, "I don't feel any different today". Maybe it's because he doesn't have any regrets?
I do feel a little different. I feel a little cleaner. A little more potent than I did yesterday.
Why? Because what stretches before me is a brand new year. A chance to try this all over again, and maybe this time, to get it right.
2005 was probably one of the most challenging and difficult years my family has ever had to face. Sure, we'd been out of work before, we'd already endured the process of moving out of our home with no clue about where we'd end up next, we'd been through a miscarriage before, and we'd had our fair share of lean months where our survival depended mainly on the gererosity of God's people.
But never all in the same year. Never all at once.
I know that God puts us through these tough times to prepare us for life. I know that if He didn't steer us into these areas of difficulty, we'd never go there on our own, and we'd also never learn what it means to walk by faith, trusting Him when He's all we have to hang on to.
So, I wonder if 2006 is the year we get to take things a little easier, or if it's the year that we get to put all this new faith into practice, tackling even bigger challenges and walking even longer through the valley of the shadow.
2005 sits behind us. Like a giant encyclopedia volume of our life. It's packed full of memories, events, stories, tears, laughter and facts. Now, it's closed shut. At our feet sits a blank sheet. Page one on a large, empty ream of white, clean paper.
What adventures await us? What tests will we endure? What surprises does God have in store for us this year?
Welcome to the great wide open.
Let's find out.